Reclaiming The Garden

Sometimes when I look out of our bedroom window, I wonder what on earth we’ve taken on. Neither of us are gardeners. The last home we shared together was a terraced rented property about 10 minutes away. The landlady cleverly ensured the garden was low maintenance and we did our best to take care of it. It was only about 20ft long, if that, and well within our capabilities.

The garden we have now in our forever home is just a bit overwhelming at times. It’s roughly 100ft from the house up to the back of the garden with a patio, steps up to the lawn and a garage/outbuilding at the bottom which we use mainly for storage and a bit of a home gym. It even has a sauna in it, don’t ask! We manage to keep on top of lawn-mowing in the summer and have resurrected a tatty table and chairs for the patio in warmer weather. Mostly it’s the dog’s territory as she tears round it like a crazy thing on the hunt for foxes who play in the garden most nights.

Woodson and Son

Somehow though, despite how crazy it feels to own a space that neither of us know what to do with it, it also feels very tranquil. You can see the stars at nighttime. We’ve found frogs, toads and hedgehogs pottering about. In the early summer evenings I’ve nearly been hit in the head by stag beetles and it’s where we’ve spent endless hours playing with Maddie as a puppy until we were able to take her out walking properly.

What’s give us most frustration over the past couple of years is that the border with our neighbours on the right as you look up the garden has been entirely dominated by massive clusters of thorny brambles, a massive 20ft high pampas grass and loads of dead and ugly bushes. Underneath all that lay a rotting fence, some tatty old chicken wire and many, many holes. Dog-sized, but not people-sized. So Maddie who decides to ignore all recall when there are lovely gardens to explore, could only go out there accompanied by one of us. In the freezing cold, in the rain, we had to go out there otherwise she’d go straight next door and refuse to come back.

Now the warmer weather has arrived, we decided to get a skip on the spur of the moment and found ourselves determined to attack the jungle, spurred on by the money spent on said skip and our very lovely neighbour’s offer to fence it all for us at not cost, if he could just get to the space to get the fencing in. And so we spent two whole weekends tearing down, digging up, cutting ourselves and yanking out splinters. We had blisters on our hands and muscles building on muscles. I fell on a prong of the garden fork and narrowly avoided impaling my thigh on it but still have the huge bruise to prove it three weeks later. Here are some pictures of our garden along the time we’ve lived here. I think I took this as soon as we moved in. Notice how little ivy there is on the garage.

More ivy, but also very overgrown on the right hand side. It’s frustrating, we actually have a south-facing garden but because of the huge oak trees at the bottom we don’t always get as much light as we should. Unfortunately they’re not on our land so we can’t trim them down.

This was probably last summer. Pretty green for a London garden and look at the ivy. It’s like the Little Shop of Horrors at ours.

Finally, after all our efforts, this is what it looks like now. A little bit haphazard and a little bit bare I grant you but what a blank canvas! We’re so pleased. We’re not really sure what will come next but once we do get a bit of life back into it, there will definitely be some update posts along the way (and in typical ‘us’ fashion, we bought some lovely lights to replace the hideous broken oldfashioned ones you keep seeing in this pictures, about a year ago. Or more. Have we changed the lights? No)

Garden Fencing

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19 Comments

  1. April 4, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Wow, what a transformation! Amazing your neighbour agreed to fence it – such an expensive job! We have the same problem with ours – 2 yrs in and we’ve really done nothing except dog proof half of it as best we can (two levels of it – it’s on the side of the hill so there are 4 in total) but Toto still manages to escape and next door’s giant pitbull can just jump over the fence into it too! We’ve decided we need to spend some money on this this summer and get it fenced properly. I am just not sure where that money is coming from! But just having a nice looking fence can make such a huge difference, and it won’t look so bare forever! 🙂 And it must be so great just being able to leave the door open and know that Maddie can come and go as she pleases but she can’t get any further than your garden! x

  2. April 4, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    What a huge amount of work you guys undertook, but also what a transformation! I can’t believe how nice your lawn looks, and I am very jealous of your acer in the top photo, the leaves are such a gorgeous colour. I never used to get my parents love of gardening, and I would always be so impatient for things to grow and for the garden to ‘look good’ or be complete, but now I very much enjoy the fact that it forces you to slow down and appreciate the changes that take place year after year. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do next with your amazing amount of space 🙂 x

  3. Sue @ Home Heart Harmony
    April 5, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Amazing transformation! I can imagine exactly how much hard work it took to get rid of all that! The new fence looks great – and all perfectly set off by your pretty little lady! She looks like she enjoy making the most of all that extra running space! xx #HomeEtc

  4. April 5, 2017 / 10:46 am

    Blimey, Lins, that’s quite the difference. What a transformation! We’ve been trying for three years to get our garden under control but have recently accepted defeat. We have someone coming to help us in a few weeks and I cant wait for it to look all lovely for summer.

  5. April 5, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    Wow this is such a great transformation! It’s great what a lovely big space you have but I can totally understand why you find it a bit overwhelming! It looks so great xx #HomeEtc

  6. April 5, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    That’s quite a difference there – you’ve been busy! Looking forward to watching it transform even more – thanks for hosting #homeetc

  7. April 5, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    It looks great! We too inherited a biggish garden when we bought our ‘forever home’ and it’s a non stop job to keep on top of it. Looking forward to seeing how you continue to develop it! #HomeEtc

  8. Sarah Petals
    April 5, 2017 / 10:25 pm

    Well that’s looking great. I love your log store. #HomeEtc

    • April 30, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah, we love it too!! Trying to bring a little bit of the countryside to our city home! X

  9. April 5, 2017 / 10:38 pm

    Oh wow, what an improvement! Our neighbours dog is forever in our garden so I know how important making a garden secure is. It looks bare but so functional now! x

  10. April 6, 2017 / 8:50 am

    Love the progress! We’re at the bare stage too after rectifying lots of issues. I’m looking forward to making it look pretty this year.

  11. April 6, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    Your new fencing looks ace. When we moved into our home 2 years ago one of the first things we did was new fencing, sadly we’ve done little else since! A large garden can be a little overwhelming so doing a bit at a time is best and it looks like you’ve got a great canvas to get going with #homeetc

    • April 30, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      It’s so true isn’t it that sometimes with an overwhelming project you can’t see the wood for the trees, literally! We’ve finally learned how to break things down and make them more manageable. Thank you for stopping by X

  12. April 6, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    Wow that looks like a lot of graft! Our garden was similarly overgrown and literally took us months to get on top of – gardening can be all-consuming but once you’ve started it’s impossible to stop! Our dog is also constantly going to next door’s garden too – actually he refuses to ‘go’ in our own garden which can get a bit embarrassing with the neighbours! We have tried to block the holes under the fence numerous times but he always finds a way to escape! Looking forward to seeing more of your garden updates x #HomeEtc

    • April 30, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      Haha I share your pain, even now we have the fence I keep finding Maddie out there trying to find a way to tunnel under! They’re so cheeky Xx

  13. April 7, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Wow, such a transformation, its beautiful and low maintenance which is just what we want. Ours is overgrown around the edges too, James is in the process of trying to cut it all back, then he is planning to dig a big hole for the trampoline to be sunken, use the soil the level the ground and re-seed the grass so it will hopefully look beautiful and green eventually. Enjoy your lovely garden, we are supposed to be having a beautiful weekend this week aren’t we. x #homeetc

  14. April 11, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    That’s fantastic Lins. The new fence looks great! It gives the whole garden a lighter, brighter feel no doubt.

    • April 12, 2017 / 1:18 pm

      It’s so much better than we ever imagined it could be, not least because it means we can just let Maddie out without having to go out there now to stop her escaping! X

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